Thanksgiving Traditions

 Salads and Dressings, Side Dish, Thanksgiving, Turkey  Comments Off on Thanksgiving Traditions
Nov 202014
 

As the holidays approach it brings to mind such sweet memories of  Thanksgivings past. Here is a little peek into my holiday memories.

Gina B. – Team member of  Cooking Queen

Each year, Americans celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday on the fourth Thursday of November. Most families follow traditions begun on the first Thanksgiving, but many have their own traditions that they follow each year. One such tradition in my family was the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade! Thanksgiving was my daddy’s favorite holiday. Thanksgiving morning , my sisters and I would lay across the living room floor and watch the parade with my parents. We never missed it!  We loved seeing our favorite balloons appear on the parade route…and seeing all the performers.  My dad used to say that if we watched till the end and saw Santa waving at us, that he would know exactly where to find us on Christmas day. That was back in 1973- Today I still can’t miss the parade. I watch it every year no matter where I am. The first few minutes of the start of the show, as they are announcing the special guests…I am in tears remembering those past thanksgivings with my daddy and how much he loved my mom’s cooking and Thanksgiving.  Today I share this same tradition with my own children.  We all snuggle up, with coffee or Hot chocolate and tune in.  We don’t start our day until the parade is over. Thanksgiving is my absolute FAVORITE holiday.

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Traditional foods are a large part of Thanksgiving celebrations. Many families include the entire family in the food preparation. Traditional foods include turkey, stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, cornbread, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. Many people serve pie for dessert at the end of the meal. Popular pie flavors are pumpkin, pecan, sweet potato, and apple. In my family , growing up with a mom from Jamaica and a father who was American, our Thanksgiving feast was a tasty combination of  food that became our favorite tradition day one! Of course no meal is complete with out the traditional ,Roast Turkey and Gravy but mom also made a Brown-Sugar Glazed ham and Roast Beef . Instead of mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes as most would have …we had  sliced Cranberry, Cucumber Vidalia Salad, Homemade Stuffing and Coconut Rice or “Rice and Peas” , as they would call it in Jamaica.  Coconut rice is delicious! It is rice cooked with coconut milk instead of water and either Black eye peas or Red Kidney beans are added. The end result is amazing and really compliments the trio of meat and other sides. I hope you enjoyed this trip into my Thanksgiving Traditions and I hope you try the recipes!

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Herb Roasted Turkey

 Holiday/Entertaining, Thanksgiving, Turkey  Comments Off on Herb Roasted Turkey
Nov 202014
 

Herb Roasted Turkey
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5
 
Ingredients
  • 1 turkey ( 8-12 lbs)
  • 1 cup of melted butter ( salted)
  • 2 cups of stock ( chicken or vegetable)
  • 6 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 2 tsp of each herb listed ( mix together)
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Onion Powder
  • Herbs de Province
Instructions
  1. Place, washed and dried bird in roasting pan on top of a rack. Rub melted butter under and over the skin of the bird, then sprinkle with seasoning and fresh garlic.
  2. Pour stock under the bird and bake according to directions enclosed with your turkey.
  3. Use the pan dripping to make a delicious gravy with the addition of a little flour cooked and whisked in a saucepan.

 

Coconut Rice a.k.a Rice and Peas

 Holiday/Entertaining, Side Dish, Thanksgiving  Comments Off on Coconut Rice a.k.a Rice and Peas
Nov 202014
 

Coconut Rice a.k.a Rice and Peas
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 7
 
Ingredients
  • 1tsp
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • ¼ cup onion, minced
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 15.5 oz can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups uncooked long grain rice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2¼ cups water
  • 13.5oz can ( 1- ¾ cups) coconut milk)
  • 1 whole scotch bonnet hot pepper( not chopped) Optional
Instructions
  1. In a medium heavy saucepan, heat oil over medium: add garlic, scallion, onion and thyme.
  2. Saute` a few minutes, then add rice, beans and stir.
  3. Add coconut milk, water, salt and fresh pepper and place the whole scotch bonnet pepper in the pot, stir to combine and bring to a boil.
  4. Remove and discard the hot pepper and continue to cook the rice until almost all the liquid is absorbed and just skims the top.
  5. Cover; reduce heat to low; simmer for 25 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and keep covered for 10 additional minutes to allow the steam to finish cooking the rice ( do not be tempted to lift off the lid before that). Serve hot.

 

3 Non-Traditional Ways to Prepare Your Holiday Turkey

 Christmas, Entertaining Ideas And Tips, Thanksgiving  Comments Off on 3 Non-Traditional Ways to Prepare Your Holiday Turkey
Dec 142011
 

Deep-Fried Turkey

3 gallons peanut oil for frying, or as needed
1 (12 pound) whole turkey, neck and giblets removed
1/4 cup Creole seasoning
1 white onion

In a large stockpot or turkey fryer, heat oil to 400 degrees F. Be sure to leave room for the turkey, or the oil will spill
over.

***** Side Note *****

How to determine the amount of oil you need:

The easiest way I’ve found to determine the amount of oil you need is to place the turkey into the fryer and fill with water until the turkey is just covered. Remove turkey and allow to drain, pat dry with paper towels as well. Make note of the level of water in the fryer. Discard water and dry thoroughly. Fill frying vessel with oil to the level as noted above. This should help in preventing hot oil spill overs.

***** End Side Note *****

Layer a large platter with food-safe paper bags. Rinse turkey, and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Rub Creole seasoning over turkey inside and out. Make sure the hole at the neck is open at least 2 inches so the oil can flow freely through the bird. Place the whole onion and turkey in drain basket. The turkey should be placed in basket neck end first. Slowly lower basket into hot oil to completely cover turkey. Maintain the temperature of the oil at 350 degrees F, and cook turkey for 3 1/2 minutes per pound, about 45 minutes. Carefully remove basket from oil, and drain turkey. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh; the internal temperature must be 180 degrees F.

Finish draining turkey on the prepared platter.

Grilled Whole Turkey

12 pounds whole turkey
2 cups water
3 tablespoons chicken bouillon powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon paprika

Prepare an outdoor grill for indirect medium heat, and lightly oil grate. Rinse turkey, and pat dry. Place turkey breast side down on the prepared grill. Sear turkey on both sides until skin is golden to dark brown. In a large roasting pan, mix together the water, bouillon powder, garlic powder, onion powder, poultry seasoning, parsley, and paprika. Place turkey breast side down in the roasting pan. Scoop the pan mixture over the turkey. Cover tightly with foil and place on grill. Grill 3 to 4 hours, until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 180F. Remove turkey from grill and let stand 15 minutes before carving.

Smoked Turkey

1 turkey 8 to 22 lbs., fresh or completely thawed
Sweet Pickle Brine (recipe to follow)
Maple syrup

Sweet Pickle Brine:

1 gal. water
2 1/2 cups salt, rock, pickling or canning salts are recommend
1/3 cup of light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Liquid garlic
1 oz. pickling spices

Mix well. You may need to adjust the amounts depending on the size of your bird. This recipe should suit you fine for an 8 to 12 lb. turkey.

Rinse turkey thoroughly with cold water, drain and pat dry. Prepare sweet pickle brine. Brine turkey according to the following schedule, 8 to 12 lb. bird 3 days, 13 to 16 lb. bird 4 days, 17 to 22 lb. bird 5 days. Remove from brine; rinse thoroughly in cold water and pat dry. Allow to dry in refrigerator for 24 hours.

Lock wings behind back and tie legs and tail together. Baste turkey with maple syrup before putting in smoker and every 2 hours while smoking. Position turkey on cooking grill. Smoke cook until done.

The best way to determine whether or not is done is to insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey (the breast) the internal temperature should read 180 degrees F.

Smoking food is more an art than a science; this recipe is not intended for the novice. Allot of factors go into determining the cooking time for a particular food when smoking.

Cool turkey in the refrigerator for 24 hours before serving to enhance the smoked flavor. You may serve the turkey right away if you wish.

Oct 242011
 

From the FoodNetwork follow Alton Brown on his mission to throw off the dry turkey curse that’s haunted his family for ages. Can he unlock the secrets to a juicy turkey that cooks in just two hours?

Also see HOW TO CARVE A TURKEY

PART 1:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART 2:

Oct 232011
 

Want to have a Thanksgiving dinner but don't have the formal china?  Don't worry because you can use casual dinnerware as nicely as fine china and still have a nice Thanksgiving Day table setting. Don't broadcast to  guests that it is casual. Instead have a nice table setting where each has their own matching plate set.  What's important is making it look nice and the most important part of Thanksgiving is having friends and family over for dinner. No one will care if you have plastic plates or fine china. Have fun and enjoy your guests.

This is what Jean did on a very limited budget:

  1. The center cupcake tier was constructed with two thrift store vases and plates. She filled the vases with colorful potpourri from the dollar store.
  2. She used mismatched plates from a variety of thrift stores that she gathered over a period of months. However, each place setting matched in color.
  3. Jean purchased the table flowers wholesale at a local wholesale club where she was a member.
  4. On Ebay Jean purchased her flatware at a very discounted price.
  5. Jean didn't feel her handwriting was very nice so she created the place cards on her computer with Avery Tent Cards  using a nice handwriting font.  She decorated them with Thanksgiving stickers she bought online at the Oriental Trading.

Easy Thanksgiving Table Crafts

 Entertaining Ideas And Tips, Thanksgiving  Comments Off on Easy Thanksgiving Table Crafts
Oct 232011
 

These easy Thanksgiving crafts offer kids an quick way to create a memorable holiday. Projects use simple, common materials like pinecones, fabric, foam, and paper to make table decorations and gifts.

From: Table Decorations

Family Tree Leaf Pins

Make a few blank ones and add names as family members arrive.

What you'll need:

  • Silk leaves
  • White card stock or construction paper
  • Pinking shears or other decorative scissors
  • Black marker
  • Pin backs
  • White craft glue
  • Other silk embellishments, such as berries, flowers, wheat, etc (optional)

How to make it:

  1. Glue 3 leaves together, layering them on top of each other, allowing a little of each to show from underneath the other. Repeat this for however many name tags you would like to make.
  2. This is an optional step, however, you may add fall flowers to some of the leaves, or berries, wheat, acorns, or any other silk embellishments you choose. Girls will enjoy the flowers whiles tags for boys work well with wheat and acorns.
  3. Using the pinking shears, cut out rectangles and squares for the name tags. Use your leaf arrangements as a guide for how big they will need to be. Leave enough room to write names on them.
  4. Glue the leaf arrangements to the front of the paper name tags, overlapping the paper so that there is excess leaf at the top (in the back).
  5. Glue the pin directly to the back of the leaf arrangement, above the paper. This will allow family members to continue using their name tag as a lapel pin by simply removing the paper name tag when they leave.

Tips:

  • Silk leaves are available in packages at local craft stores. Check the floral department for prepackaged leaves that are flat and easy to work with.
  • Hot glue can be used for the project and dries a lot faster than craft glue. However, hot glue can be so use caution.
  • For a little extra fun, have family members write a little bit of what they are thankful for on the back of their pin, then everyone can read theirs out loud at dinner.

Thanksgiving Place Cards

Give your dinner guests a holiday surprise with these cut Thanksgiving place cards that are a great way to decorate your Thanksgiving table!

What you'll need:

  • Paper napkin in fall colors or orange construction paper
  • Small paper clips
  • Apple, any color
  • Almond, with or without the shell
  • Peanut in the shell
  • One Lifesaver candy
  • Two small wiggle eyes
  • Yellow construction paper
  • Hot glue gun
  • White craft glue
  • Marker

How to make it:

  1. Hold the almond point down and use white craft glue to attach eyes on rounded part. Let glue dry.
  2. Use hot glue gun to glue the ring-shaped hard candy to front of apple. Don't use white craft glue as it will cause the candy to start to liquefy and run down the apple (glue the ring-shaped hard candy on the apple's shoulders).  
  3. With hot glue gun, glue almond to ring-shaped hard candy (covering the hole, point down) and let dry. 
  4. Glue peanut below almond for turkey wattle.   
  5. Unfold napkin so it is approximately 6" x 11", then fold accordion style. If you don't have a napkin, you can use a 6" x 11" piece of construction paper.
  6. Pull ends of folded napkin together to make a fan. Secure with paper clip at bottom. Sit napkin behind the apple.
  7. Bend the end of the paper clip and insert into apple.
  8. Cut a piece of yellow construction paper into a rectangle to make a place card. Write your guest’s name on the place card.
  9. Use a paper clip to hold place card or glue a toothpick to the back of the card and insert into the top of the apple.